Debaser, the opener on the 1989 LP Doolittle, is one of the most enduring and popular songs ever recorded by Pixies.

One well-known critic loves it so much that he described it as the best single of the decade that was the 80s although it was never ever released in that format until 1997 when it was used to promote a new best-of compilation by the band.

The seemingly nonsensical lyrics are in fact based on based on what is a famous surrealist silent film from 1929. Un Chien Andalou was a collaboration between director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí. It was Buñuel’s first film, originally intended for a limited showing at Studio des Ursulines in Paris, but which became so popular that it ran for eight months.

The film includes a scene in which a woman’s eye is slit by a razor, which is referenced in the lyric “Slicin’ up eyeballs/I want you to know” that is screamed by Black Francis during Debaser.

mp3 : Pixies – Debaser

While reading about things on wiki, I learned that a version of Debaser was also used in some game called DJ Hero 2 ( me neither!!);  but in a form that sees it remixed with Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy. It might sound interesting and fascinating but it is in fact shit…

mp3 : Pixies/The Prodigy – Debaser/Invaders Must Die


5 thoughts on “‘THE BEST SINGLE OF THE 80s’ – BUT NOT A SINGLE TILL 1997

  1. The Pixies were such a breath of fresh air when they arrived. American mainstream rock was mired in hair metal bands and other unfortunate progeny of Van Halen. With a couple of exceptions (e.g. R.E.M.), major label “indie” acts were coming from abroad (U2, New Order, Depeche Mode, INXS, etc.) The Pixies were a sonic, scary force that didn’t sound like anyone else. After a couple of stellar releases, Doolittle completely rewrote what was happening in alternative USA, and laid the foundation for the grunge scene that would happen a few years later. ‘Debaser’ was the horn that blew down the walls.

  2. I agree wiht JTFL – surprise, surprise – about how American Rock needed the Pixies at the time they arrived, but I never really got that deep, diehard affection for the band. Their popularity certainly opened doors in the US for a host of other bands and the growth of ALT ROCK in America. They deserve a great deal of appreciation just for that.

  3. They took a lot from Husker Du.
    Just saying.
    I love Doolittle, Surfer Rosa and Come On Pilgrim- and then largely lost interest. The thrill had gone.

  4. SA – I like what you say! Husker Du seem to get lost in the mid to late 80s soup, but there is some really powerful music that challenged the conventions of the roots of hardcore that they were formed from, influencing a lot of bands including The Pixies and Nirvana.

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